VehiclePing Form Application

Marcel Holder, La Salle University

This is an MS Computer Information Science capstone project. The delivered system contains proprietary information and you need the the author's permission to access the final report.



To develop a C# desktop application that will be used to test and monitor WI-FI connectivity to field vehicles within range of its designated network Access Point. Tests will be carried out by sending and monitoring ping responses to those vehicles.

The purpose of the application is two-fold:

(a) To provide a user friendly windows interface that will simplify the process and give more users the ability to quickly check on the status of the WLAN or a vehicle.

(b) Provide an integrated database to log vehicle ping activity. This will act as a preventative maintenance tool and also give the user the ability to look at a short term history of ping activities. History in this case, refers to saving the responses of each vehicle pinged. (Database filters will include but not limited to total ping responses by vehicle by week and by month). The functionality for this will require creating a windows schedule to open the application at predetermined times and have the application auto ping a range of vehicle numbers holding records for approximately 1 month.

All vehicles have a three or four digit fleet identifier number that is painted on the front of the vehicle. This number has a direct relationship to the IP address that is assigned to its vehicle. The interface will provide the functionality for the user to choose whether to convert a vehicle number (a 3 or 4 digit number) to an IP address (10.xx.xx.xx) or vice-verse, and also the ability to run a ping test from the remote onsite server to an identified vehicle or a range of vehicle numbers within the 300 ft. range of the Access Point. The conversion of a vehicle number to an IP address will be done by converting a vehicle ID to its binary equivalent and further converting that binary number to dotted decimal notation to get the IP address. The reverse process will convert an IP address to a vehicle number.

Projected Timeline for project is:

  • May 20: Project start
  • June 7: Complete interface, programming logic and algorithm
  • June 28: Complete database features
  • July: Testing and tweaking


I work for SEPTA as a Sr. Programmer Analyst supporting ourControlCenter’s bus system (known asCARDfor Computer Aided Radio Dispatch). A small part of the system is a wireless network at each garage where vehicles connect to upload firmware changes, configuration settings, and schedule data. Currently there isn’t a direct approach for the lay-person to test connectivity between the Access Point and vehicle. This project is on my list of company goals for this year.

System Architecture:

TheCARDOrbCAD-NT system uses three Local Area Networks (LANs).

  • OneLAN(OrbCAD-NTLAN) connects the servers and workstations to the Data Communications Controllers (DCCs).
  • The secondLAN(CommunicationsLAN) connects the DCCs to the Transmit Modem Devices (TMDs) and Receive Modem Devices (RMDs). All RF radio communications to the vehicles is done over this network.
  • The thirdLAN(Wireless NetworkLAN) connects the Data Interface Station (DIS) to the WLAN through Access Point.

The wirelessLAN(WLAN) network consists of theDIS, Access Point, and vehicle wireless system hosted on the AMDT/SMDT (mobile device terminal). Data to be downloaded to vehicles and vehicle data logs to be uploaded to theDIStakes place over this network. Wireless downloads and uploads are performed at the garage.

Upload to DIS

Data collection takes place on the Smart Mobile Data Terminal (SmartMDT). Collected data is written to event files on the SmartMDT and made available for upload to theDIS. Event files may contain the following data:

  • APCboarding and alighting counts
  • Vehicle inventory records
  • Vehicle equipment status records
  • Vehicle health monitoring data
  • Operator logon/logoff records
  • Start/End of trip records
  • Startup/Shutdown records

Download to vehicle

  • The software (Build) that operates in the Smart Mobile Data Terminal (SmartMDT) is updated via WirelessLAN(WLAN). Whenever a vehicle enters the WLAN coverage, 300-600 feet, a process on the SmartMDT starts. This process checks the Data Interface Station (DIS) to determine if a new SmartMDT software build is available for downloading. If a new build is present, then the SmartMDT copies the software to a temporary directory within the SmartMDT. When the download completes, the SmartMDT re-boots and the new software is used.
  • Bus schedule data containing start and end times, bus stop data, andGPStime-point data is downloaded to the buses over the WLAN. This data is used for tracking Route Schedule Adherence (RSA) information whenever a bus is in revenue service.